Sometimes people find themselves faced with family circumstances that seem insurmountable and the only way out appears to be suicide. You may be so surrounded by the problems that they are all you can see. The physical, emotional, relational, financial and spiritual pain is all around you, a constant reminder that life is not worth living, there is no pleasure or happiness anymore and life seems like it will never be anything but hardship and pain. When this happens people tend to turn inward where their focus is solely on the problem so a solution cannot be found. They begin to cut themselves off from friends, family, churches and other organizations, that could help them find solutions to their problems. They no longer feel like they possess the inner strength to push toward a solution even if one is found. And how do you prioritize the problems, which should be addressed first, as they are all so intertwined with each other like a massive ball of wadded up string. Sometimes it feels like it would be so much easier to call it quits and give up.
This is where we as a society, church, social service agencies, etc., have failed these individuals and families. Our social services are very disconnected, usually working independently of each other. A family in crisis may need medical, psychological, spiritual, and financial help. Their weeks are filled with appointments but each person working with them is not communicating with the others so the family is feeling more overwhelmed and isolated than encouraged. And who is going to pay for all of these services? Those with money usually get the best services and those without get the left overs.
And where is God when life becomes overwhelming?? How come he seems to magically disappear when we need him the most? Suffering is nothing new to God, just ask Jesus. It is a part of the life cycle we all experience, some more than others. His presence is with us all of the time but when life becomes chaotic and unmanageable, life drowns out the still small voice of God within us. When life is overwhelming we tend to be told to believe for God to give us a miracle, so we miss the many small ways he speaks to us throughout the day. God can take many different forms and likes to show up in unexpected places. The advice of a friend, a post seen on Facebook, a verse in the Bible that speaks to you, a song on the radio, a story you can relate to, the beauty and intricacies of nature, the greeting of your dog or the kindness of a stranger. God never stops loving you regardless of the situations you find yourself in.
So what are you to do when life overwhelms you?
• Reach out to someone and be totally honest with them about everything going on in your family or personal situation. A counselor, pastor or medical professional are a good place to start with as they are usually aware of community resources that may be able to assist you. Reaching out to someone can be a fearful and vulnerable thing to do, but as we are created for connection, it can be the most healing step you can take.
• Find someone you can talk with to process your fears and help you find solutions you may not be aware of.
• Find something positive, no matter how small it may appear to focus on each day to bring hope back into your life. Living in the moment is sometimes necessary for survival and God, knowing this, will send you signs of hope and love in the moments you need it the most to help you keep going. These signs can seem so insignificant if we aren’t looking for them that it is easy to miss how God is working to encourage us and show his love.
• Make an effort to help or encourage someone else each week, even if it is just smiling and saying hello to someone you pass on the street. We often feel like we have nothing to give and we are empty. However, giving is a evidence of having, and if we make a deliberate effort to give to others, it creates the energy around us of having enough that we can give extra away and can unexpectedly replenish our spirit through the joy of giving to another.
• Look for things you can do to nourish your spirit. Get reconnected to the God of love. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Understanding how much joy God has in you as his child and how proud he is of you for getting up each day and trying in spite of the difficulty can give you amazing strength. As children, we thrill under the joy of our parents for us, and that is how we should view ourselves with God. He is an excited father, full of love for us and so ready to walk through our day with us. Taking a few moments every morning to picture this and hold God in your mind as a loving father who takes joy in you can be an amazing source of strength for your day.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by life, send me an email I would like to be able to help you.